Large truck and bus crashes account for nearly 180,000 injuries and deaths every year in the United States
Commercial trucking accidents remain a serious public safety problem in Twin Cities region and throughout the state of Minnesota. According to data provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), there were nearly 4,300 commercial truck accidents reported in the state in the year 2015 alone. While some of these accidents were thankfully minor, many others were extremely serious. Collectively, these crashes resulted in at least 1,316 injuries along with 61 fatalities.
Truck accident victims deserve full compensation for their injuries. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, fair compensation remains out of reach. Trucking is a big business, and these companies are often represented by even larger insurance companies. Insurers are never looking out for the best interests of victims. If you were severely injured in a Minneapolis-St. Paul truck accident, you should not go through the complex claims process on your own. You need legal qualified representation.
At Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm, our experienced Minnesota trucking accident lawyers are standing by, ready to help. We have extensive experience handling commercial truck accident cases in Minnesota. Our lawyers will review your claim, free of charge and determine exactly what you need to do next to get the full compensation that you rightfully deserve under the law.
Large Truck Accidents are Especially Dangerous
When a large commercial truck does get into an accident, the consequences can be truly devastating. Unsurprisingly, the occupants of normal sized vehicles often take the brunt of the impact. These collisions account for some of the most catastrophic crashes that occur on our roads. When large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks or buses are involved in fatal collisions with cars, 98 percent of the deaths occur in the cars. The math is simple: a tractor-trailer weighs 80,000 pounds, whereas a typical sedan like a Toyota Camry or Ford Taurus weighs less than 4,000 pounds.
Trucking companies must take this reality into consideration. State and federal regulations compel these companies to operate their fleet with the highest level of safety in mind at all times. The bottom line is simple: Trucking companies must only put safe trucks, equipment and drivers onto our roadways.
Trucking Companies Can Be Held Liable for Their Bad Actions
When a trucking company, for whatever reason, fails to live up to its legal duties to operate its fleet safely, it can and should be held liable for any resulting damages. Liability in trucking accident cases, as with other personal injury cases, must be established at the state level. In Minnesota, these claims are controlled by the state’s comparative fault statute. There are two important things that all trucking accident victims need to know about this law:
1. Fault is Established By Proving Negligence
In Minnesota, a party can be held to be at fault for an accident if it can be proven that their negligence in some way contributed to the crash. Negligence is defined as the failure to take due care in a given situation. Of course, this definition is broad: what constitutes due care can vary considerably, depending on the specific circumstances of the case at hand. However, one thing that is clear: Trucking companies are held to very high safety standards. Additionally, these companies are responsible for the actions of their employees (drivers). According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance. Driver fatigue, chemical substance abuse, overweight loads, restricted visibility, improper maintenance, excessive speed, long stopping distances, among many other factors, can contribute to the cause of these crashes.
2. Liability Can Be Split Multiple Ways
As Minnesota is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, it is possible for two (or more) parties to share liability for the same truck accident. Indeed, in some circumstances, an eighteen wheeler accident victim may even be held partially to blame for their own crash.
Liability is always divided proportionally to each party’s fault. For example, if two parties were each 50 percent at fault for a truck accident, and $30,000 in total damages resulted, they would split the liability, meaning they would each be financially responsible for 50 percent of the losses, or $15,000.
For truck accident victims, their recovery will be reduced if they are found to be partially at fault for their own crash. For instance, if you were found 40 percent to blame for your own trucking accident, and you suffered $10,000 in damages, your recovery would be reduced by 40 percent as well, or $4,000. Under this type of system, it is imperative that victims are able to protect themselves from any unfair share of the blame. If you are unfairly blamed for a crash by the insurance company, it means that money will come right out of your pocket.
Compensation Available to Truck Accident Victims
After liability has been established, a Minnesota trucking accident injury case will move onto the issue of compensation. This is one of the most important aspects of any personal injury claim, and it is often overlooked by victims. Under the law, you can only recover compensation to the extent that you can actually prove your damages. Victims should always work with a Minneapolis truck accident attorney who has the skills and experience needed to help them properly document their losses. At Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm, our team knows how to hold big trucking companies and big insurance companies accountable. We can help you seek financial compensation for:
- Damage to your vehicle;
- Emergency medical expenses;
- Other hospital bills;
- Treatment with specialists;
- Required medication and medical devices;
- Lost income, including lost future wages;
- Long-term disability;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Loss of limb;
- Loss of life enjoyment;
- Wrongful death damages; and
- Punitive damages.
Special Considerations for Minnesota Bus Accident Cases
Minnesota bus accident claims work much like truck accident claims: Buses are extremely large, and thus cause a disproportionate share of very serious accidents, and bus companies can be held legally liable if their negligence contributes to an accident. However, there are a couple of other important unique factors that must be considered as well.
First, buses are common carriers under the law. This means that they are held to high legal standards and have a duty to protect the health and safety of their passengers. Additionally, many buses, including school buses and Metro Transit buses are publicly operated. There are special legal rules involved in bringing a personal injury claim against publicly-run entities. The bottom line: If you were injured in a Minnesota bus accident, either as a passenger, motorist or as a pedestrian, you need to get your case into the hands of an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Request Your Free Consultation Today
When injured in a crash involving a large truck or bus, you need a Minnesota large truck liability lawyer with the skill, experience, and dedication needed to tackle the complex factual and legal issues. You can count on and trust the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm’s experience, commitment, and resources to ensure that your rights are protected.
To set up your free initial legal consultation today, please call our team at (763) 225-2695 or fill out our online contact form. From our office in Plymouth, MN, we serve truck accident victims throughout the Twin Cities region, including in Minneapolis, St Paul, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Maple Grove and Minnetonka.
If you have been injured in a crash involving a large truck or bus, contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm today for a free no-obligation consultation
Direct (763) 746-7800
Every year 5,000 people die and more than 130,000 people are injured in trucking accidents in the United States. The…